Amid Sponsorship Fears, Sochi Wants The Gays To Stop Anti-Olympic Campaign

sochi-russia-olympics-lgbt-america-corporation-sponsorsPoor Sochi Olympics. All this talk about Russia’s homophobic climate is really putting a damper on the upcoming Games, as sponsors begin to voice their concern.

“Lately there has been a lot of discussion and I am pushed by several sponsors about what will happen with this new law in Russia,” International Olympic Committee marketing chief Gerhard Heiberg told Sochi Games chief Dmitry Chernyshenko, Reuters reports. “Especially the American sponsors are afraid what could happen. This could ruin a lot for all of us.”

Well, perhaps now the IOC knows how gays in Russia feel. Heiberg is referring to an anti-gay propaganda law passed in June that prohibits the promotion or dissemination of information regarding “non-traditional sexual relations.” As if to add insult to injury, another law was proposed last week that would deny same-sex parents custody of their own children.

Russian officials, from President Vladimir Putin on down, have defended the propaganda law, claiming that it is not discriminatory and would not disrupt the Games in February. Except that it kind of would.

“We make this clear. This law recently passed does not prohibit homosexuality directly or indirectly. It does not contradict elements of the Olympic Charter. It will not stop 2014 proudly upholding the Olympic values,” Chernyshenko said. “The law will have no impact for any guest visitor. Whether athletes or just fans or members of the Olympic family, everybody is welcome to enjoy the fantastic Games.”

Chernyshenko cited that time Putin awarded “the highest Russian order” to a homosexual as “a greatest example” of Russia’s rich tradition of diversity, adding that it’s “important” to have the IOC’s “support in this campaign.”

Heiberg maintains that the IOC is not trying to change Russian law, and has already shown their support by reminding athletes not to spread any propaganda — gay or otherwise — while in their host country; the laws of which they are bound to respect. But the Committee is really worried about Russia’s ability to deliver, since the World Track & Field Championships in Moscow last month had more empty seats than a synagogue on Christmas morning.

“To my big surprise on the (Moscow) opening day with the president of the country present, the stadium was a third full despite promises of the organizing committee,” said IOC member and former NBC official Alex Gilady. “Moscow is of course 12-13 million people, Sochi is (much smaller).” Gilady warned that empty seats would serve as a deterrent for audiences who might wonder, “Why should I be the only idiot watching this?”

In all fairness, that happens with every Winter Olympics. Meanwhile, those championships also acted as a dry-run for the international drama one can expect from the Sochi Olympics, when Swedish high jumper Emma Green-Trogero painted her nails rainbow; an act Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva called “unrespectful.”

So while boycotting the Olympics may not be the answer — as tradition dictates, the show must go on — continuing to put pressure on sponsors may be the most effective way to prove to Russia that the ruble stops here. Unless, of course, you’re Coco-Cola.

Photo: You Think You Know

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  • gwydion

    Yea….no. Eff U.

  • 2eo

    Why are so many cretins ignoring the simple fact that they DO work, and in this case have them running scared a year before they even start.

    Still, frankly this site covering it at all is still a minor victory I suppose.

  • GayTampaCowboy

    Sounds like the PR and outreach by those of us who are making our voices heard to the mega-companies who advertise during the Olympics.

    Just a 1% or 2% loss in sales/revenue for Coke, McDonalds, Visa, etc could be devastating to their bottom lines – not to mention causing near irreparable damage to their well-crafted brands!

    Keep up the pressure!

  • Cam

    Isn’t it funny that the violent bigots ALWAYS try to claim that they are the victims?

    Here is a thought. If Russia stops arresting gays for holding hands, and the police stop protecting people who upload videos of themselves torturing gays online, we’ll stop asking them to stop.

    Fuck those bigots.

  • Cam

    Why would the author put this sentence in? “So while boycotting the Olympics may not be the answer”


    Gee, or maybe it IS the answer. Lillyhammer, Albertville, and Nagano as well as Vancouver all have the infrastructure to handle a fast move of venue.

  • Ottoman

    I cancelled my Visa card and told them this is why. Also we can see you still supporting Russian vodka Queerty, stoli even admits the ingredients come straight from mother Russia.

  • Polaro

    How much change do they think would happen if we said and did nothing? Nothing. Exactly why we should be vocal and vote with our dollars.

  • BJ McFrisky

    Nothing to worry about. No one watches the winter Olympics—never have, never will.

  • Ottoman

    @BJ McFrisky: ” Nothing to worry about. No one watches the winter Olympics—never have, never will.”

    You mean Visa and Coke are just throwing money away every four years? Do their investors know this?

  • 1EqualityUSA


  • the other Greg

    Well you guys have convinced me, it seems simple enough to cancel a Visa card, forego my monthly Egg McMuffin – one of the very few decent things they have anyway – and as for Coke… well I can’t really boycott something I don’t drink, yuk (but do they need to know that?). And it’s not a year away, it’s only 5 months away, February.

    Another reason: McFrisky is probably one of those “Sun Belt” conservatives who’s unfamiliar with snow, and never heard of Ross Rebagliati, the cute Canadian Olympian and marijuana activist who got a lot of people interested in snowboarding.

    @1EqualityUSA: “Sochiopaths,” good one!

  • arj

    “But the Committee is really worried about Russia’s ability to deliver, since the World Track & Field Championships in Moscow last month had more empty seats than a synagogue on Christmas morning.”

    Now THAT is funny. What humor. What literary wit. What knowledge. What superior intelligence.

    What idiocy.

  • Taliaferro

    In Greece, enemies met at the games during which squabbles among city states were suspended so that all could meet and participate. Here is a thought for the IOC – demand that any country which wants to host the Olympics agree to either U.N. guidelines or IOC guidelines. If they cannot agree that the value of having the Olympics is greater than their discriminatory laws against people of different ethnic backgrounds or sexual orientation, they they will not be considered as a host country. In the meantime. I will sign any petition against any company that chooses to advertise its products at the Sochi Olympics. Personally, I believe the IOC should move the games to another country. Even the threat of that would likely make Putin realize that we have moved into the 21 century – even in Russia!

  • mangina

    Defect people! Defect out of Mother Russia!

  • MK Ultra

    The bad press against Russia will continue and in fact, intensify.
    Russia will be presented as a frozen graveyard built on the back of the oppressed.
    Putin will be presented as a dwarf-sized, incompetent dictaterrorist with an inferiority complex and aspirations for world-domination.
    The Orthodox church will be presented as a pedophile terrorist group kidnapping and raping children.
    The Russian people will be both presented as Nazis who have committed crimes against humanity which need to be punished under international law, and as oppressed people who are terrorized by their own fascist government.
    Russia’s many economic problems will be highlighted for the world, including the child sex trade, alcoholism and the high rate of children born with FAS, poverty, unemployment…
    And of course any opportunity to mock, degrade, or criticize Putin, his government, or the orthodox church, will be taken.

    Russia wants its former glory back. Let’s make sure to deny them of it.

  • Bob

    Love the great big Stoli advert on this page. (sarcasm)

  • EManhattan

    I tried to comment on the latest bash-for-cash Stoli article here (“Philadelphia Stoli Guy Finalist Billy Is Your Teenage Dream Come True” (actually, he’s not at all what I was dreaming about, I liked ’em big and hairy then, too)) but – what a surprise! – comments there are not allowed.

    This is only a minor irritant, of course – compared to having your kids taken away, or being beaten by police, or being killed by religious thugs, it’s a very minor irritant.

    I hope that Queerty is making LOTS of money off of Stoli, which Queerty will then spend on ethical reporting and more coverage of Eastern European and Russian anti-gay issues. If you’re going to sell yourself, don’t sell yourself cheap.

  • BJ McFrisky

    @Ottoman: I was referring to Americans (the only ones who matter, of course), so your snarkiness went completely unappreciated. Maybe next time.

  • DonW

    @EManhattan: You couldn’t have said it better about the Queerty sell-out to Stoli. Fine, plaster the site with the company’s ads if you must, but spare us the phony “news” items with comments disabled. Or do you have a Russian-style policy banning “propaganda” in favor of boycotting?

  • Cam

    No comments allowed and every single finalist looks like they have been neutered, waxed and completely desexualized. My guess is Stoli is actually aiming the contest at the straight women audience. If it was aimed at gays you would think at least a few of the contestants would look like functioning adults.

  • redspyder

    Stoli. The most non-Russian Russian vodka in the world. Straight or Gay, you’ll love it. Just the perfect bottle for bashing someone in the head during a completely legal beat down. Or, if you’re gay, drink enough and you won’t remember a thing in the morning… not even your own self worth! In the closet? Try both!!! Show us the money and we’ll be whatever you want us to be… except being Russian! [wink, wink] Dos Vedanya Tovarisch!

  • barkomatic

    Good. I hope U.S. companies are *very* nervous about how their sponsorships of the games will effect the long term perceptions of their brand. I can’t imagine McDonald’s being comfortable with their brand being shown in Russia followed by a news report of a bloody beating.

    Then again, I fully expect Russia to suspend its crackdown during the games–and then start it up again after they are over in earnest. I’m afraid we may be hearing about gays being rounded up and sent to some type of detention center soon.

  • EManhattan

    And Queerty, I feel compelled to add, PLEASE make sure Stoli is wearing a condom. Otherwise you leave yourself open to getting some really terrible STIs – they’ve been in bed with some pretty nasty people.

  • the other Greg

    other Coca-Cola Company brands to boycott:

    Minute Maid
    Simply Orange
    Nestea (joint venture w/Nestle)

    Is it a coincidence that so many of these mix well with vodka? – hmm…

  • Ottoman

    Queerty says Drink Stoli: the gay bashers vodka of choice.

  • masteradrian

    Of course we do not need to go to Sochi to boycott the sponsors of the anti-gay games!

    We know who the sponsors are, and we can boycott them worldwide, and then they will feel it… who them filthy gays are, and how powerful they are, and who the stockholders are that make their companies possible!

    Does this man in Sochi really thinks that the IOC can stop a boycott when we want to boycott? Even and foremost the IOC is powerless when it comes to feeling how strong a group can be!
    Equality for All, None for the bigots!

  • maxlovesrio

    Has anyone noticed that four more years down the road we are looking at the soccer FIFA World Cup being hosted by Russia in 2018. Even worse, the FIFA World Cup is scheduled for Qatar in 2022 where homosexuality is illegal? It’s not too late to pressure them to change the locations.

  • fredhotman

    It is a moral to see as an advertisement for Russia’s new law, the mistreatment of gays or perceived as gays in the world media. It is interesting to hear and see gangs of thugs including females who boast of the destruction they are prepared to reign on gays or perceived as gay. What a “beneficial ” propaganda for the new law & lawmakers to show the world the wonders of benevolence when visiting Sochi or Russia one could encounter as display & warning for LGBT transgressions, violence on display as Olympic side entertainment. Boycott Sochi.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Queerty gets very few comments compared to Joe.My.God, so it doesn’t surprise me that Stoli gave them cash to advertise on this site and they took it.. Sometimes they’re lucky to get 6 comments. Perhaps all of the censorship is a turn off.

  • Victor_in_PA

    So, I’m just wondering who wrote this article. “Empty as a synagogue on Christmas morning”?!! Really?! And, claiming boycotts don’t work? Apparently, they do or there wouldn’t be an article about sponsors being scared. And, how about all the Stoli ads?! Did Yelena Isinbayeva write this article? At least that would be understandable. How embarrassing! You guys really need to try journalism for a change if you expect to be taken seriously.

  • Tone

    Queerty could set an example and stop shilling for Stoli.

  • scoobydube

    @mangina: I would change that to ‘DEFECATE’ on MOTHER RUSSIA. Now THAT might ‘send’ a message ….

  • iMort

    @BJ McFrisky: You are so grumpy all the time! So is my partner of many, many years, but we LOVE the winter Olympics. Do you poop out at parties?

  • Dansktex

    The games are going to happen. What Russia does during them is up in the air. What we can do is limited. To jump on a bandwagon wanting to boycott American advertisers (my first thought is that all gays should completely boycott them during the period of the Olympics) isn’t aiming at the right target. The targets should be the Olympic Committee which wants to whitewash the whole situation and to pass rules to hand-tie the participating athletes in terms of what they can do to express their disagreement with Russia’s law and Russia itself. Therefore, is there a way to go to the heart of the battle–against the Olympic Committee and against Russia itself–and be effective?

  • Jerry12

    As they say; Be careful Putin how you make your Bed — You may have to sleep in it

Comments are closed.